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A 3-2 finish could be good enough for Redskins to win the NFC East

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A 3-2 finish could be good enough for Redskins to win the NFC East

The Redskins are tied first place in the NFC East and they currently have an edge in the tiebreakers but they still have a long way to go before they can claim their first playoff berth since 2012.

Washington is tied with the Giants at 5-6, with the Eagles a game back at 4-7 and the Cowboys bringing up the rear at 3-8. Although the Eagles and Cowboys are both technically alive in the hunt for the division title we will set them aside for the purposes of this discussion and focus on the two teams who right seem to have the more realistic division title aspirations.

The first tiebreaker for a tie in the division is head-to-head results. The teams split their two games so they move on to record in the division. The Redskins are 2-1 in the NFC East with three division games left while the Giants are 2-3 with one division game remaining. Here is a look at the remaining games:

Redskins—Cowboys, @Bears, Bills, @Eagles, @Cowboys
Giants—Jets, @Dolphins, Panthers, @Vikings, Eagles

The first thing to look at here is that the Redskins’ remaining opponents have a combined winning percentage of .364 while the Giants’ slate has is at .600. None of the Redskins’ opponents has a winning record while the Giants take on three teams over .500 including two NFC division leaders.

The second thing to note is that the Redskins can guarantee that they will hold the division record tiebreaker with two wins in their remaining three division games. That would give them at least four NFC East wins while the Giants can end up with no more than three.

There are many ways that this thing could finish but let’s look at one plausible scenario. Let’s say the Redskins win on Monday night against Dallas, lose on the road to the Bears, beat the Bills at home and an Eagles team that is in disarray, and lose in Dallas in the finale. That would put them at 8-8 with four division wins.

That would force New York to finish 4-1 in their last five games, beating either the 8-3 Vikings on the road or the undefeated Panthers at home in the process while taking care of business in their other three games. If the Giants finish 3-2 to tie the Redskins at 8-8, the division record tiebreaker would give the division to the Washington under this scenario since New York can’t win more than three division games.  

Again, with five games left a lot can happen. Scenarios shift every week and we should be able to see things more clearly after the Redskins take on the Cowboys on Monday night. 

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Brandon Scherff confirms that he and the Redskins have 'been talking' about a contract extension

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Brandon Scherff confirms that he and the Redskins have 'been talking' about a contract extension

Bruce Allen identified getting a contract extension done for Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff as one of the Redskins biggest priorities of the 2019 offseason. To this point, however, nothing has happened. 

That doesn't seem to have Scherff concerned. 

"We've been talking, but I'm not really worried about that," he said after OTAs on Monday. "I'm here for another year, so that's all I'm worried about right now. Everything will take care of itself."

Scherff, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has played at an elite level since his rookie season. He's made two Pro Bowl teams in four years, and until last year, had been remarkably durable. 

In 2018, Scherff's season started very strong. 'Skins coach Jay Gruden described the former Iowa Hawkeye as the best pulling guard in the NFL and it was well-earned praise. Then, in a Week 8 loss, Scherff went down with a torn pectoral muscle. His season was over. 

At OTAs, however, Scherff was a full participant with no brace or apparent encumbrances from the injury. 

"I'm feeling really good, just taking it slow and making sure I'm 100 percent," he said. 

Expect the free agent market to be quite bullish. Once a lesser-paid position than tackle, guards have recently started pulling in significant cash. Zach Martin's recent contract extension in Dallas pays him more than $14 million per season, and Jacksonville is paying Andrew Norwell more than $13 million this year. 

For Scherff, expect top of the market money. He has the talent, pedigree and ability that if Washington won't pay in the neighborhood of Martin and Norwell, he can wait for free agency. 

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Reuben Foster's season-ending injury hurts the Redskins from a contract perspective, too

Reuben Foster's season-ending injury hurts the Redskins from a contract perspective, too

There are a lot of questions stemming from Reuben Foster's injury at Redskins OTAs, which looks to be a season-ending one.

Where does Foster, whose career has really yet to take off due to other injuries as well as numerous off-field troubles, go from here? What are Washington's options at inside linebacker now, since they were counting on him to produce?

And then there's this: How does Foster missing this year affect his contract with the 'Skins?

The answer, according to salary cap expert J.I. Halsell, is not much.

"When a contract tolls, that means basically the pause button is pushed and whatever you were supposed to make in 2019 carries over to 2020. That's not the case for Reuben Foster," Halsell said Tuesday while on the Redskins Talk podcast.

"Reuben Foster will earn his $1.29 million salary regardless of if he plays this season or not. While he'll probably spend his entire season on injured reserve, he'll make his $1.29 million in 2019."

Essentially, everything proceeds as normal. And that in and of itself is a decent setback for the organization.

One of the reasons the Redskins dealt with the controversy and backlash when they claimed Foster last November was because they were adding a first-round talent on his rookie contract. The team was hoping they could secure two years of elite play out of him at a bargain price, and then potentially exercise the fifth-year option on him to keep him in D.C. through 2021.

Now, however, they're losing one of those precious seasons and will have to make that decision on his fifth-year option next offseason without any tape or experience to really base that decision on. That's an important choice, and one that will carry significant financial implications as well.

"The fifth-year option for the 2021 season will be pretty expensive," Halsell said. "The long and short of it is it's going to be a lucrative dollar amount and given his injury history, his current injury, you would think that when they have to make that decision by the 2020 Draft, they will decline that option."

Haslell's right. The likelihood of the Burgundy and Gold committing big money to a guy with literally one rep in their uniform — and it's not like he was proven for the 49ers, as a linebacker or as a person, either — feels unbelievably slim. 

Yet — and now we're looking pretty far down the line — if he is able to return from this injury and contribute in 2020, the franchise could still look to keep him beyond that. There's a ton of time between now and then, but it's certainly possible.

"Theoretically, even though you don't have the fifth-year option for 2021, you can work on a contract extension for Reuben Foster assuming he comes back to full health," Haslell explained.

Still, not only does the injury hurt the player as well as the unit the player was going to start on, but it limits the team's potential payoff from claiming the player. The situation, from every angle, is an unfortunate one. 

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